RUSH: You heard about the controversy in Pittsburgh? You know these public transit buses have advertising banners on the side of ’em, and in Pittsburgh there’s an advertising banner on the side of buses with the words “ziggin’ and zaggin’. Z-i-g-g-i-n. Z-a-g-g-i-n. “Officials say they’ve recently received complaints that one of its slogans, ‘Ziggin Zaggin,’ is offensive when read backwards, seeming to spell out a racial slur. Jim Ritchie with the Port Authority [in Pittsburgh] says they will remove the messages from buses.
“‘[D]ue to recent complaints about how this message appears when read backward, we have decided to remove the message from our vehicles,’ he said. ‘This will take us several days to properly remove. We apologize to anyone who may have been offended.’ A few days ago, a driver complained after seeing the slogan on a bus in her rearview mirror. She says it spells out a racial slur when read backwards. ‘In terms of the message being offensive it’s not a surprise at all.
“‘It’s a very serious and hurtful and offensive message. We felt the best thing to do was simply take it off,’ Port Authority Spokesperson Jim Ritchie said. The Port Authority says this slogan has been wrapped around nine buses since 2003. This is the first time anyone has ever complained about it. It was part of a marketing campaign comprised of six different slogans like ‘Rockin’ Rollin’,’ and ‘Movin’ Groovin’.’ Some folks say the stickers need to be taken off immediately, while others say they don’t see a problem with it.
“‘It may be an overreaction, but I can see where some people would be offended,’ Cynthia Sharkey, of Moon Township, said. ‘I don’t think it’s really a racial slur or anything,’ Benjamin Dixon, of Homewood, said. ‘Who really thinks about looking at it backwards? It’s “Ziggin’ and Zaggin'”.’ ‘A vehicle zigs and zags through the city to pick somebody up. It’s a bus,'” for crying out loud, “Antwon Manson of the Hill District said.”
So now we’re getting to the point where if you read a word backwards and it offends you, it’s gotta come off a public bus. What do you think “ziggin’ zaggin'” is backwards? It doesn’t even spell a word. It might spell a pronunciation, but it does not spell a word. (interruption) Well, maybe in the Urban Dictionary it’s spelled that way, but we’re talking… (interruption) With Z’s in there? This is the height of… This is political correctness run amok. How many people were offended, one or two?
Look at the reaction. “Oh, my God! Oh, no! Oh, yeah, I see what you’re talking about. Oh, we’ll take this down immediately.” Ziggin’? We’re losing the language here, folks. Something… There’s not even any intention here. There’s not even any ill intent. You know, this reminds me of this poor guy that was in the Washington, DC, city council. He used the word “niggardly” to describe a problem they were having in the city budget, and they had to… The guy got fired for using the word “niggardly,” n-i-g-g-a-r-d-l-y.
It means stingy, any number of things, but because the word sounded like the N-word… It has nothing to do with the N-word, nothing to do with the definition. It just sounded like it. And because of the ignorance and stupidity of people who didn’t know that there was a word called “niggardly” they had to get rid of the guy. The guy got fired. I’m reminded of an Ohio minister who once found a Satanic message in the Mister Ed theme song.
He said the Mister Ed TV show, which was in syndication had to be canceled. Well, actually it wasn’t. The guy did not do it. The minister in that case did not succeed. Everybody laughed him off. That’s the point. An Ohio minister comes around, “Hey, there’s a Satanic message in the theme song to Mister Ed, if you play it backwards!” “What do you mean, if you play it backwards?
Who in the world can play the theme song in a television show backwards? How did you do it?” Anyway, the guy claimed it was there. They told him to go pound sand. Now somebody comes up, looks at the words Ziggin’ Zaggin’, and they claim racial insult, racial offensive remark words, and the city of Pittsburgh’s Port Authority just hops to. “Oh, gee, sorry! Yeah, you know what? You’re right, and they take it down.”
RUSH: One person! One person driving a car in Pittsburgh sees the words ziggin’ and zaggin,’ says she’s offended, and the city just snaps to and says, “Fine. You’re offended? We don’t want to offend anybody. We’ll get rid of it.” Where’s this gonna lead? The word “live” or “live” spelled backwards spells “evil.” “Lived” spelled backwards, spells “devil.” That’s gonna offend some people. “Knits” spelled backwards spells “stink!” “Snug” spelled backwards spells “guns.” Where’s it gonna stop?
You know, I keep waiting — I really do — for somebody besides us… Folks, I know you’re with me. I wait for somebody besides me, somebody to stand up and just tell these people to screw off and go away instead of everybody standing up and bending over and grabbing the ankles and acting afraid of all of this.